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  #1  
Old 03-11-2004, 8:57 PM
David Gold David Gold is offline
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Default Woman Charged With Murdering Her Unborn Baby

Because she wouldn't have a Cesearian. She allows her baby to die. Murder? AP

oman Charged With Murder of Unborn Baby
By ALEXANDRIA SAGE
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A pregnant woman who allegedly ignored medical warnings to have a Caesarean section to save her twins was charged Thursday with murder after one of the babies was stillborn.

Prosecutors said Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, didn't want the scars that accompany the surgery.

An autopsy found the baby died two days before its Jan. 13 delivery and that it would have survived if Rowland had had a C-section when her doctors urged her to, between Christmas and Jan. 9. The other baby is alive, but authorities had no further information.

The doctors had warned that without a C-section, the twins would probably die, authorities said. A nurse told police Rowland said a Caesarean would "ruin her life" and she would rather "lose one of the babies than be cut like that."

"We are unable to find any reason other than the cosmetic motivations" for the mother's decision, said Kent Morgan, spokesman for the district attorney.

Court documents give no address for Rowland, and she isn't listed in area telephone books. An attorney was to be appointed for her Friday, Morgan said. A court appearance was set for Tuesday.

The charges carry five years to life in prison. Rowland was jailed on $250,000 bail.

In January, the state Supreme Court ruled that unborn children at all stages of development are covered under the state's criminal homicide statute. The law exempts the death of a fetus during an abortion.

The law has been used to prosecute women who kill or seriously harm their babies through drug use; it has never been used because a woman failed to follow her doctor's advice, said Marguerite Driessen, a law professor at Brigham Young University.

"It's very troubling to have somebody come in and say we're going to charge this mother for murder because we don't like the choices she made," Driessen said.

According to the documents, Rowland went to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City in December to seek advice after she hadn't felt her babies move. A nurse, Regina Davis, told police she instructed Rowland to go immediately to one of two other hospitals, but that Rowland said she would rather have both babies die before going to either place.

On Jan. 2, a doctor at LDS Hospital examined Rowland and recommended an immediate C-section based on an ultrasound and the babies' slowing heart rates. Rowland left, the doctor told police.

The same day, Rowland allegedly saw a nurse at another hospital, saying she had left LDS Hospital because the doctor wanted to cut her "from breast bone to pubic bone."

A week later, Rowland allegedly went to a third hospital to verify whether her babies were alive. A nurse there told police she could not detect a heartbeat from one twin and advised Rowland to remain in the hospital, but Rowland allegedly ignored the advice.

A spokesman for LDS Hospital said he could not comment, citing medical privacy and a pending court case. It was not clear how many weeks Rowland was pregnant before the delivery.
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Old 03-11-2004, 9:25 PM
rachel rachel is offline
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Prosecutors said Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, didn't want the scars that accompany the surgery.
...(Deep Breaths)...She didn't want the scars?...(more Deep Breaths)...How's about giving me a free pass to show her how negligible the scars from a Caesarean can be. :samuria:
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Old 03-11-2004, 9:42 PM
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Isn't a woman "in control of her own body" ? The left thinks so. This baby isnt a human till its born.

But according to Utah law, unborn children of any stage are considered under Homicide laws except for abortions... sheesh does that make sense?

So is this different than a partial birth abortion? This will be an interesting one to watch.
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Old 03-11-2004, 9:43 PM
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Good point about Utah law, Sam.
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Old 03-11-2004, 9:47 PM
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The irony of this is...

If she would have had an abortion, she would have been legally ok.

But she chose to go ahead and have natural birth, and now she's afoul of the law.
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Old 03-12-2004, 11:22 AM
David Gold David Gold is offline
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The pro-abort groups are already coming to this woman's aid. They say a C-Section can be dangerous. Therfore, a woman has the "right to choose." This woman will become a human ping pong ball in the abortion debate. If this wasn't Utah would they have brought charges? AP

Utah woman denies charges of avoiding a C-section
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A woman accused of murder because she allegedly avoided a Caesarean section that could have saved her unborn twin has denied the charge, saying she already had scars from earlier C-sections.
Melissa Ann Rowland is charged with murdering her fetus after doctors repeatedly told her to get a Caesarean section.
AP

Her attorney, meanwhile, said she had a long history of mental illness.

Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, was charged Thursday of showing "depraved indifference to human life," ignoring medical advice to deliver her twins by C-section because she didn't want to be scarred. One nurse told police Rowland said she would rather "lose one of the babies than be cut like that."

Rowland told Salt Lake City radio station KSL from jail that "I already have a pretty nasty scar, it doesn't matter at all now," The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Her attorney, Michael Sikora, called a C-section major surgery and told the Tribune "it would come as no surprise that a woman with major mental illness would fear it."

The documents allege that Rowland was warned numerous times between Christmas and Jan. 9 that her unborn twins would likely die if she did not get immediate medical treatment, the documents allege. When she delivered them on Jan. 13, the twin girl survived but the boy died.

Shortly afterward, Rowland was jailed on a child endangerment charge involving the surviving twin, who has been adopted by a family Rowland knows.

Rowland told the radio station she has two other children who live with their grandparents in Virginia. Sikora said Rowland moved to Utah with a boyfriend and is either divorced or estranged from her husband. She lives in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan.

A spokesman for the district attorney, Kent Morgan, had said earlier that Rowland was married.

The case could affect abortion rights and open the door to the prosecution of mothers who smoke or don't follow their obstetrician's diet, said Marguerite Driessen, a law professor at Brigham Young University.

"It's very troubling to have somebody come in and say we're going to charge this mother for murder because we don't like the choices she made," she said.

The woman sought medical advice in December because she hadn't felt the fetuses move, documents said.

Regina Davis, a nurse at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake, told police that during a visit there, Rowland was recommended two hospitals to go to for immediate care. Rowland allegedly said she would rather have both twins die before she went to either of the suggested hospitals.

On Jan. 2, a doctor at LDS Hospital saw Rowland and recommended she immediately undergo a C-section based on the results of an ultrasound and the fetus' slowing heart rates. Rowland left after signing a document stating that she understood that leaving might result in death or brain injury to one or both twins, the doctor told police.

The same day, a nurse at Salt Lake Regional Hospital saw Rowland, who allegedly told her she had left LDS Hospital because the doctor wanted to cut her "from breast bone to pubic bone," a procedure that would "ruin her life."

LDS Hospital can't comment on the case because of medical privacy issues and the pending court case, said spokesman Robert Pexton.

The doctor who performed an autopsy found that the fetus died two days before delivery and would have survived if Rowland had undergone a C-section when urged to do so. It was not immediately clear how far along Rowland was in her pregnancy.

She was charged in Salt Lake County with one first-degree felony count of criminal homicide. Rowland was being held on $250,000 bail at the Salt Lake County jail, and was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

If convicted, she could be sentenced to between five years and life in prison.

"We are unable to find any reason other than the cosmetic motivations by the mother" for her decision, Morgan said.

Caesarean sections usually involve delivery through a surgical incision in the abdomen and front wall of the uterus. Dr. Christian Morgan, a family practice doctor who regularly performs C-sections at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, said he had never seen vertical skin incisions performed at LDS Hospital for a first-time C-section.

"Even when you need to get a baby out in minutes, it can still be done in the bikini incision," Christian Morgan said.
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Old 03-12-2004, 11:49 AM
SamBusy SamBusy is offline
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Oh so now shes mentally ill...oh boy.
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Old 03-12-2004, 5:05 PM
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This could not have been a crime 100 years ago.

She refused to have an operation.

Just because she refused an operation, that did not change the cause of the death of the child. The child died from a natural medical condition.

So, it seems the state can compel you to have a medical procedure to save the life of another person.

Could the state compel you to give blood or donate a kidney? Could it compel the next of kin into donating their departed loved one to save another life?

There is a unique relationship between the mother and child, but other family relationships exist that could make one person medically dependent on another. Advancing medical technology will likely increase such instances as it has in this case.
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Old 03-12-2004, 5:25 PM
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... it seems the state can compel ...
It seems that state can compel, but lets wait and see if this sticks, even in that state.
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Old 03-12-2004, 9:54 PM
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The doctors had warned that without a C-section, the twins would probably die, authorities said. A nurse told police Rowland said a Caesarean would "ruin her life" and she would rather "lose one of the babies than be cut like that."
Why do reporters do that?? The woman denies she said that, but they report it as a FACT.
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  #11  
Old 03-12-2004, 10:00 PM
David Gold David Gold is offline
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More on this. Salt Lake Tribune

Mother is charged in stillborn son's death


Melissa Ann Rowland

By Pamela Manson
The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake County prosecutors on Thursday charged a West Jordan woman with criminal homicide in the death of her stillborn baby. Prosecutors claim the woman ignored repeated warnings in the last few weeks of pregnancy that the twins she was carrying could die or suffer brain damage unless she had an immediate Caesarean section.
Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, had refused medical treatment, saying she would rather die than go to either of the two recommended hospitals, and that being cut "from breast bone to pubic bone" would ruin her life, the county District Attorney's Office alleges in a probable-cause statement filed in 3rd District Court.
Rowland, also known as Melissa Hrosik, faces up to life in prison if convicted of the first-degree felony. Her attorney, Michael Sikora, said she has been in jail since shortly after giving birth in mid-January on a child endangerment charge involving the surviving twin, a girl who has been adopted.
Sikora, a public defender, said Rowland has a long history of mental illness and was first committed to a hospital at age 12.
What makes the prosecution's case extraordinary is it presumes the state can second-guess an expectant mother's choice on major medical care.
"This is nothing if not a very novel legal theory," Sikora said. "If it prevails, it raises questions about what a mother can or cannot do with respect to the safety of her unborn child. If a doctor says this will be a very difficult pregnancy and you should get complete bed rest for the last three months and the mother doesn't and the baby is stillborn, is she guilty of murder? If she smokes, is it murder? If she doesn't eat right, is it murder?"
But Kent Morgan, deputy Salt Lake County prosecutor and a spokesman for District Attorney David Yocom, said Rowland's crime stems from the depraved indifference and utter callousness she showed toward her unborn twins.
"It's not just the conduct, it's the knowledge, the state of mind," he said.
The probable cause statement claims that Rowland was told numerous times from Dec. 25, 2003, to Jan. 9, 2004, that her twins faced life-threatening conditions and could die unless she pursued immediate medical attention.
Rowland told a nurse at LDS Hospital on Christmas Day that she had not felt the babies move. The nurse recommended that Rowland go at once to either Jordan Valley or Pioneer Valley Hospital, according to the probable-cause statement. But it says the nurse said Rowland told her "she would rather have both of her babies die before she went to either of those hospitals."
An obstetrician-gynecologist who saw Rowland at LDS Hospital on Jan. 2 recommended an immediate Caesarean section because of problems with the fetal heart rate and an ultrasound that indicated low amniotic fluid, the statement says. However, Rowland left after signing a statement indicating that she understood that leaving the hospital could result in death or significant brain injury to the babies, according to the statement.
Later the same day, Rowland showed up at Salt Lake Regional Hospital and told a nurse that she left LDS Hospital because a doctor there wanted to cut her "from breast bone to pubic bone" and this would "ruin her life," according to court records. In addition, she allegedly told the nurse that she would rather "lose one of the babies than be cut like that."
On Jan. 9, Rowland went to Pioneer Valley Hospital, the statement says. A nurse was unable to verify a fetal heart rate on one of the twins and told Rowland that she should remain for monitoring, but Rowland left anyway.
Sikora said child protection authorities were told of the situation when Rowland was still pregnant, but took no action.
"We have not been granted authority to intervene in the life of an unborn child," said Carol Sisco, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child and Family Services. "We don't have jurisdictional authority."
The only agency with authority would have been a hospital, who could have petitioned to have a guardian appointed for the child. That guardian could have then petitioned a judge to force the medical procedure on Rowland.
A nurse who assisted in delivery of the twins at Pioneer Valley Hospital in West Valley City told investigators that Rowland arrived in labor on Jan. 13. A hospital staff member told Rowland that one of the babies was dead and the other was in distress, the nurse said.
She said Rowland resisted the recommendation that she deliver by C-section and insisted on going outside to smoke before eventually giving her consent for the operation. The boy was stillborn and the girl was in respiratory distress, the nurse said. A doctor reported that the girl also tested positive for cocaine and alcohol in her blood.
Edward Leis of the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner, who performed an autopsy on the boy, said the unborn child died two days before his sister was born "and further stated that if the defendant had delivered Baby Boy Rowland when her doctors had urged her to, the baby would have survived," the probable cause statement says.
Rowland was booked into jail on Jan. 14 -- just one day after delivering her twins -- on an endangerment charge for allegedly taking drugs that harmed Hannah, the girl. Bail for that count was set at $50,000. For the homicide charge, bail was set at $250,000.
The charges are another sad event in a life marked with mental problems, Sikora said.
He said Rowland, herself a twin, was born to a mentally retarded mother. She was placed in foster care almost immediately and adopted before her first birthday. Her twin brother had serious medical problems and died when he was 7, Sikora said.
Rowland was committed to a Pennsylvania mental hospital when she was 12, weighing almost 200 pounds, and diagnosed with "oppositional defiant disorder," Sikora said. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry defines the condition as an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant and hostile behavior toward authority figures that seriously interferes with day-to-day functioning.
His client was hospitalized in a mental facility at least one other time and told him she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Sikora said. The defense attorney is waiting for records to confirm that.
Rowland's statements to doctors and nurses, says Vicki Cottrell, the executive director of the Utah chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, seem to confirm a mental illness.
"All I can say is there's no question this is not rational thinking," Cottrell said. "There are so many things going on in a [mentally ill] person's mind, it really is not clearly black-and-white disobedience."
Rowland moved to Utah with a boyfriend and is either divorced or estranged from her husband, Sikora said. Court records show she was living on Social Security disability benefits and that managers of her apartment complex began eviction proceedings in late January after her arrest.
"This is major surgery," Sikora said of the Caesarian. "It would come as no surprise that a woman with major mental illness would fear it."
But Morgan said a determination of her mental state will have to be made during criminal proceedings and nothing has been proven yet.
"What we're trying to send is the message that someone has to stand up for a child who could have been alive," he said.
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Old 03-12-2004, 10:15 PM
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I think she might have a defense with 'mentally ill'

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Old 03-13-2004, 1:23 PM
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Nightmgr has a Fantastic point.

Another note. It is a very very recent cultural idea that a fetus/neonate has any value. It is an even more recent idea that the wellbeing of the baby is more important than that of the mother.

It has been common cultural practice over the years (the last two centuries excluded) to kill or expose babies who are malformed or retarded. In most households a child was not even given a name until after it's first few weeks of life. This was to make it easier for the parents if the child was not accepted into the household.

Since when does the state have the right to force a medical procedure on someone?

My girlfriend's mother nearly died of UNFORSEEN complications from a cesarian. A large infection nearly put her under. And what if she'd refused and her child had died? Should we throw her in jail?

My own mother has had 3 cesarians. If she'd had my brother in a natural birth she would have most likely died from complications.

What if an Immuno compromised woman (such as a woman with AIDS) refused to have a cesarian because of INCREASED risk of complications and her child died. CHUCK HER IN JAIL. MURDERER!!! YEs that's right. You have no right to choose your life over your childs.

There is ALWAYS a risk of death and complication from being CUT OPEN. No matter how PATHETIC this particular womans excuse was, we cannot slight her for her decision or we take away a woman's right to make decisions that affect HER LIFE. HER LIFE. A DECISION THAT COULD END HER LIFE.
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Old 03-13-2004, 1:28 PM
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Since when does the state have the right to force a medical procedure on someone?
State mental institutions have done this for some time. Also, what about epidemics? Quarantines and associated medical procedures? The state does have the right, at times.
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Old 03-13-2004, 1:46 PM
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AP

Utah Woman Charged in C-Section Case
By ALEXANDRIA SAGE
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -

A woman charged with murder for allegedly refusing a Caesarean section that could have saved her unborn twin said she never imagined having a stillborn child would result in prosecution or national news coverage.

"I feel like I'm getting a lot of attention that (should be) my private business." Melissa Ann Rowland told The Associated Press during a jail interview Friday.

Prosecutors this week charged Rowland with exhibiting "depraved indifference to human life" in avoiding the C-section. One nurse told police Rowland said she would rather "lose one of the babies than be cut like that."

Rowland denied claims she avoided surgery because she feared scarring.

"It was all medical concern. None of it was vanity," Rowland said. Her other two young children, ages 7 and 9, both were delivered by C-section, she said.

Her attorney, meanwhile, said she had a long history of mental illness. Rowland said she had attempted suicide twice and spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

Rowland, 28, who has been jailed since mid-January on a child endangerment charge involving the surviving twin, said she was informed of the murder charge Thursday evening by reporters.

Critics of the charges say the case could affect abortion rights and open the door to the prosecution of mothers who smoke, fail to follow their obstetrician's diet advice or take some other action that endangers a fetus.

"I see this as part of an overall focus of a certain movement on fetal rights and an effort to elevate fetal rights above the rights of a woman," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women and a former prosecutor.

A phone message left at the headquarters for the National Right to Life Committee seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Rowland, from the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan, was warned numerous times between Christmas and Jan. 9 that her unborn twins were likely to die if she did not get immediate medical treatment, charging documents allege. When she delivered them Jan. 13, a baby girl survived but her twin, a boy, was stillborn.

Rowland was charged with criminal homicide. She said the child endangerment charge stems from allegations that the surviving baby girl had drugs and alcohol in her system, which Rowland denies.

The baby has been adopted by a family Rowland knows. Her other children live with her estranged husband's parents.

Rowland's attorney, Michael Sikora, called a C-section major surgery and told The Salt Lake Tribune "it would come as no surprise that a woman with major mental illness would fear it."

Prosecutors allege that Rowland told a nurse during a January visit to a hospital that doctors wanted to cut her "from breast bone to pubic bone" and she would rather "lose one of the babies than be cut like that."

Rowland denied making the statements, but remembers that hospital visit as "very stressful. Doctors there had me very upset." She was concerned about her recovery time and the nature of the surgery, she said.

She said she was never concerned about her babies' health because in all her hospital visits, she was told the babies had good heartbeats and were fine.

Caesarean sections usually involve delivery through a surgical incision in the abdomen and front wall of the uterus. They are generally not vertical and can be done in the bikini incision, according to Dr. Christian Morgan, a family practice doctor who regularly performs C-sections at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center.
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Old 03-13-2004, 4:02 PM
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What makes the prosecution's case extraordinary is it presumes the state can second-guess an expectant mother's choice on major medical care.
If it wasn't the mother's choice, then to state could have ordered the caesarean. If it had that option, the state is the one who failed.

Quote:
But Kent Morgan, deputy Salt Lake County prosecutor and a spokesman for District Attorney David Yocom, said Rowland's crime stems from the depraved indifference and utter callousness she showed toward her unborn twins.
As opposed to possible fear? Many people fear medical procedures, and with good reason. I know people who won't get dental work if they must be generally anesthetized. I, myself, am not prone to seek medical attention unless it is an absolute emergency.

Quote:
Sikora said child protection authorities were told of the situation when Rowland was still pregnant, but took no action.
"We have not been granted authority to intervene in the life of an unborn child," said Carol Sisco, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child and Family Services. "We don't have jurisdictional authority."
Everybody wanted someone else to take action.

Quote:
A doctor reported that the girl also tested positive for cocaine and alcohol in her blood.
Now we get to what is really behind the DA actions. This, as I see it is the only concrete grounds on which to charge her. We already have laws in place against using drugs illegally. And we have laws to punish those who use such drugs during pregnancy that result in harm to the fetus.


Kestrel:
Quote:
It is a very very recent cultural idea that a fetus/neonate has any value.
That seems callous. The value has certainly been elevated in recent times, But I don't think it was regarded as not having "any value" for a very long time, at least for the majority of societies in this world.

Quote:
Since when does the state have the right to force a medical procedure on someone?
This is a valid question. If the state does have that right, the first time the doctor recommended the caesarian, the authorities should have been notified just as in a child abuse case. A doctor who makes that observation, medical or psychiatric, is obligated to report. Apparently the way the law is, the patient has the right to make the choice and the medical profession can only advise.

NetGear
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The state does have the right, at times.
(Emphasis added) The state did not act on its option.

This is troubling because I see everybody wanting to make the mother the scapegoat. If the reported mental history is correct, this woman deserves sympathy. Who knows what phobias accompany her disorders. Few would say this was a sound decision. While I don't like big brother in everything we do, I do want consistency in the law. As pointed out, if she aborted, which would be an active choice to kill the fetus, she would be within her rights (at least in the first trimester). Her decision was passive. Yet they are charging her with premeditated murder.

I have personal experience with a mother who was late in delivery. The hospital would not act to force birth because her doctor was off on vacation. The child was delivered vaginally at 10 1/2 months. The problems will follow the child for her life. That was just the opposite of this case. And it was almost 3 decades ago now.
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Old 03-13-2004, 9:28 PM
David Gold David Gold is offline
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Salt Lake Tribune

Rowland's case raises fundamental questions, ethicists, politicians warn
Salt Lake Tribune ^ | 3/13/04 | Jacob Santini



Charging a woman with murder for refusing a Caesarean section is nothing less than medical blackmail, says one women's rights advocate.
"Will it empower doctors to use that as a threat?" said Lynn Paltrow, who founded the New York City-based National Advocates for Pregnant Women two years ago.
Paltrow fears the developing Utah case could give physicians a new tool to coerce pregnant women into treatment.
At a minimum, the charge could lead to other arrests of women who refuse C-sections. But there are broader impacts, says Jeff Botkin, a pediatrician and a member of the University of Utah's Division of Medical Ethics.
"What then are the bigger impacts for society to force certain behavior on women?" Botkin asked. "It does open that question up."
It all began Thursday with a three-page document filed in 3rd District Court that accused Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, of murder.
The charges are based on Rowland's alleged refusal to consent to a C-section after doctors told her, on Jan. 2, that her twin babies would likely die without the procedure. On Jan. 13 -- 11 days later -- Rowland had a C-section and doctors delivered a stillborn boy and a breathing girl.
"This one is uncharted territory, and I hate to be the first state leading out in something of this nature," said Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan. "I think there's legitimate issues to be addressed there, but we have not discussed this and it's not a matter of policy or law yet, or even extensive debate. So going through and charging someone with murder in this situation is a bit discomfiting."


But Sen. Pete Knudsen, R-Brigham City, says the state was right to step in.
"If what I hear is true, negligence would have to be considered on the part of the mother if she didn't follow through with that advice," he said. "The life of that child is absolutely critical."
But experts say there's little standing for courts to force procedures on women who don't want them.
"There's no way our legal counsel would support a coercive Caesarean," said Mary Mahowald, an assistant director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. "And that's the trend nationally."
That trend began with Paltrow, who successfully overturned a court-ordered C-section on appeal in the late 1980s. That case, which pitted the wishes of a terminally ill cancer patient against doctors who obtained a court order to perform a C-section on the woman, still stands as a landmark case on the issue.
That case culminated as both the mother and infant died.
Lawrence McCullough, a professor at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine, says there is still room to petition courts for an unwanted C-section. To get one, though, physicians need to prove with certainty that a fetus will die and the mother is at risk, too -- and fetal distress, as in the Rowland case, isn't definitive enough.
The bigger issue for McCullough is how the Rowland case got so far, particularly if Rowland is mentally ill, as suggested by her attorney.
"As soon as I saw [the story on CNN's Web site Friday morning] I said, 'Utah's got a problem,' " McCullough said. "The real question is what's wrong with Utah's health care system that allowed this to get this far?"
McCullough argues that states across the country fail to provide any, let alone adequate, care for mentally ill women who are pregnant.
One Utah advocate worries about the same thing.
"My response is, what were we doing for this person before this happened?" said Vicki Cottrell, the executive director of the Utah chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. "How could we have avoided this?"
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Old 03-14-2004, 8:50 AM
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Why didn't the hospitals offer an alternative to a C-section, like Induced Labor? I believe that should have been presented to the woman as an option, and there is no evidence that it was. Gee whiz! Has thinking outside of the box been outlawed yet, or what?
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Old 03-14-2004, 2:17 PM
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http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595048928,00.html
Prosecutors Probe Talk of Baby Selling

By Stephen Speckman
Deseret Morning News

Prosecutors are looking into the background of Melissa Ann Rowland, who is accused of murdering one of her twins before birth — including allegations of baby selling.


"That's under consideration at this time," Kent Morgan, a prosecutor with the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office, said Saturday.

"We have received information that (Rowland) is presently attempting to arrange bail by soliciting individuals to adopt a child who is alleged to be nonexistent."

A Sacramento couple interested in adopting a child of Rowland's said that is exactly what happened to them. In a telephone interview Saturday, Brian Farley told the Deseret Morning News that the California adoption agency he and his wife were using contacted them after talking with Rowland about giving up a boy for adoption.

Rowland, 28, is charged with first-degree murder, for allegedly refusing a recommended Caesarian section and later giving birth to twins, a girl and a stillborn boy. Prosecutors say they filed the charges because Rowland failed to seek medical care recommended to save the baby boy's life. She is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail on $250,000 bond. She could face life in prison if convicted.

Under the assumption that their adoption attorney had checked Rowland's background, Farley said, he and his wife agreed to accept collect telephone calls from the incarcerated woman. The calls began Feb. 26 and ended March 2, he said.

At the time of the last call, the couple believed Rowland had yet to deliver the baby boy, Farley said.

"Your emotions just go absolutely crazy when you hear, 'We have a kid,' " Farley said, cautioning parents looking to adopt to be careful.

"Check out your adoption agency," Farley added. "I'm furious that my adoption agency allowed this to happen."

Farley, 43, said he was unaware there was a twin involved until hearing a news report about Rowland's case on March 12 while on his way to work.

During all of the phone calls, Farley said, he told Rowland that he and his wife of nine years were mainly concerned the baby was healthy. Farley said he was told by Rowland, "You get me out of jail and I'll give you my child."

Farley said he was expected to come up with $5,000 for bail. It was his understanding that Rowland was in jail for child endangerment charges at the time. Farley said he even offered for him and his wife to fly to Salt Lake City and help Rowland through the birth.

Farley also said Rowland told him she was trying to get bail from one or more relatives in Florida. Farley said he was told by Rowland that she needed to have a Caesarean section and that she didn't want to have the child in jail. Rowland had already given birth, however, on Jan. 13.

Morgan said he knows Rowland is the mother of three children, including the girl born Jan. 13. There is speculation Rowland has given birth to as many as six children. There is also evidence to suggest that Rowland sold at least one child through a "legitimate" adoption agency, according to Morgan.

Rowland and one of her children were the subject of a July 2000 Pennsylvania court case, in which Rowland pleaded guilty to charges of simple assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child for striking her then 2-year-old daughter in the face with her fist. A story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Saturday states that Rowland punched the child while in the checkout line of a grocery story after the girl ate a candy bar.

Witnesses told police that Rowland then dragged the child from the store, slapping her several times before throwing the toddler into a car through an open window. When police arrived, Rowland also slammed the child on the car's trunk, causing her to hit her head, the story states. About 20 witnesses to Rowland's behavior formed a human chain around the woman's vehicle and prevented her from leaving the area before police could intervene, the paper reported.

In an interview with the Associated Press Friday, Rowland said her two children from her estranged husband have lived with his parents since 1997. She did not mention the previous conviction and said her children, ages 7 and 9, no longer live with her because she thought they were better off with their grandparents. Rowland was not available for an interview from the Salt Lake County Jail on Saturday.

Charges filed last week in Salt Lake County's 3rd District court state that Rowland was advised by a doctor at LDS Hospital to have a C-section as early as Jan. 2 because of difficulties that were life-threatening to the unborn babies. Court documents state Rowland would visit two more hospitals before giving birth Jan. 13.

Some parental rights advocates have accused the district attorney's office of making the case "political, " but Morgan said there is no such agenda.

"The only thing the District Attorney's Office wanted to do was to have someone come up and stand up for the dead baby," Morgan said.
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Old 03-14-2004, 2:21 PM
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Mom Who Refused C-Section Had Prior Conviction

Sunday, March 14, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY — The woman charged with killing one of her twins by refusing a Caesarean section was convicted of child endangerment in Pittsburgh nearly four years ago, a newspaper reported Saturday.

The 2000 conviction of Melissa Rowland stemmed from a supermarket incident in which she punched her daughter several times in the face after the toddler picked up a candy bar and began eating it, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. Witnesses said Rowland screamed, "You ate the candy bar and now I can't buy my cigarettes."
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